Friday, December 16, 2016

Fall Semester Recap

The first semester of Grace's 11 and Lilah's 9th grade is coming to a close.  Our Friday coop is on hiatus until January, when new classes begin.  Our Tuesday coop is on break until the first week of January, but three classes remain before transitioning to the new semester.  There is still a bit of work to be done to finish up the requirements for those classes.

Photography 102: Beyond the Basics came to a close.   Grace has had some exciting opportunities this fall with photography.  She was asked to photograph immigrant children at a Catholic Tutoring Center in Bridgeport to help with their marketing materials.  She photographed the town's Pumpkin Festival and she took family photographs after the fall baby dedication at church.  She won the People's Choice Award at the Milford Arts Commission event.  She took part in a light painting workshop and attended a lecture hosted by photographer Chris Nicholson.  She was even invited to be a photographer's assistant for her teacher during on of his photo shoots.  

Lilah continues to enjoy photography and her eye for beauty is a gift.  

Drawing:  Lilah took three art classes this semester; two at coop and one with an artist tutor.  She studies portrait drawing, landscape painting and the basics of drawing.  Her work is developing and I am super excited to see where she goes with her art.  

Driver's Ed:  Grace obtained her permit September 14th and completed the mandatory 8 hour drug and alcohol class.  Now she is 6 hours into her 40 hour driving instruction.  Once she masters the merge there will be no stopping her!

Science: We finished up the 101 Series: Biology which was a nice compliment to Apologia.  We begin Chemistry in January.  

Math: We continue to work in geometry and pre-algebra

English:  This has been the toughest class of the semester.  They have watched Ella Enchanted and Labyrinth and completed a three page chart for each.  They read The Odyssey and Beowulf and completed the same chart.  Grace read Carpe Diem and Lilah read The Finisher, each with a chart.  Grace is now reading The Wizard of Oz and Lilah has to choose another quest.  They are both working through Watership Down which is due next week.  A final project must be done and they are procrastinating.  This is their downfall with this class.  They procrastinate.  It does not seem to affect them with History, where they can cram the reading into one or two days and do their homework in the car on the way to class.  I hate this, but it does not seem to bother them.  However, you cannot cram a 400 page book into a week and you cannot wait until the last minute to do a final project but that is what they have done and there will be consequences for this.  However, I am really proud of them because Grace detests fiction.  She never, ever would have read these books on her own.  Lilah might have come to them.  She actually enjoyed Beowulf much more than I did.  In fact, I realized she is a better reader than I am.  She picked up on nuances I did not.  Asked questions that stumped her teacher and participated in conversations in which her opinion was in the minority and she defended it well.

Music:  There was tremendous growth in this area as well.  Lilah finished up her first semester playing cello with the coop worship band.  This was her first opportunity to share cello as her teacher does not have recitals.   She works through the songs on her own and she is a beautiful accompaniment to the worship team.  She has a love/hate with practice and after almost losing the opportunity to play cello because of it, she has recommitted to her practice.   

Grace earned a spot on the teen worship band at church.  This stresses her out and brings her so much joy.  She is not a keyboardist.  She has had to work really really hard to learn to play as part of a band.  Her piano teacher is a huge help and this past week she was able to play the piano as part of the band and she moved me to tears.  Watching your children use the talents God gave them for His glory is incredible.    Grace also took up guitar again through coop.  She studied two hours taking both beginner (where we thought she was) and intermediate (where she actually is) guitar every other Friday at coop.  She does not enjoy playing guitar on her own but she loves playing with other kids.  Her newest passion is ukelele.  Gifted with a concert ukelele for her 16th birthday, she plays it all.the.time.  In  All.the.time.  I know every word to Grace VanderWaal's I don't Know My Name.  Every.word.

Oh!  And Grace is teaching piano!  My friend in Texas has a 12 year old daughter who was teaching herself through YouTube.  Grace offered to try teaching her over Facetime to see if is was possible.  It is not only possible, it is wonderful!  At first I offered to sit with Grace and work with her to show her how to time a lesson, to make sure you connect to the last lesson before moving ahead and to summarize what this week's lesson was about, etc.  She needed no help.  After 8 years of lessons, teaching has come naturally to her.  Her lessons are going so well, they just bumped up to 45 minutes.

Foreign Language: Grace completed ASL 4 at The Sign Language Center in Manhattan.  Lilah will complete her first semester of French mid January.

History:  Three more lessons and they will finish their book!  This book has brought them to the civil war and reconstruction.  Modern history will be covered in the next semester (beginning mid January).  It is apparent that they need to be up to date on world events.  We stopped watching the news daily because of Isis and terror threats in NYC and the anxiety that brought them.  At the time they were in their early teens and I felt it was okay.  Now however, these conversations are taking place in history class and to participate, they need to be aware. We will resume CNN in January.

Fall Field Trips:  

  • Grace and I traveled to Hartford to attend Franklin Graham's Decision America Tour
  • Grace attended the Fall Retreat and attended programming by Zane Black
  • Plimouth Plantation
  • The White Mountains of New Hampshire
  • Keene, New Hampshire
  • International Center of Photography, New York
  • Steinway Flagship Store, New York
  • The Crayola Factory, Easton, PA
  • Toured part of the Musical Heritage Trail in Bristol VA and TN 
  • Visited the homestead of Davy Crocket
  • Cades Cove, Smokey Mountain National Park (during the first fire)
  • Toured Fort Loudon, constructed in 1756 during the French Indian War
  • Toured The Sequoyah Museum (the creator of the Cherokee Alphabet)
  • Switchfoot and Reliant K in concert
  • Francesca Battistelli and Lauren Daigle at Carnegie Hall
  • Smoke on The Mountain, A Sanders Family Christmas at Cumberland Playhouse, TN


Mother of 3 said...

I am so jealous of your list of fall field trips! There are quite a few on that list that I have had on my wishlist.

LJS said...

Most of them were unplanned! We were supposed to go to Boston but that did not happen so we used our trip to Greg's parents as a chance to make up for that. I hope to have some cool trips this winter/spring that tie into history.

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